Trinity United Methodist in Piedmont, Mo. will host "The Legend Singers Choral Ensemble" at 6 p.m., Saturday, April 14. This is the fourth year, "The Legend Singer Choral Ensemble" has performed at Trinity, which is located on Highway 34 between Piedmont and Patterson, Mo.
The Legend Singers takes pride in their cultural heritage and continues the preservation and performance of choral music of the African-American culture as well as other choral works.
In the summer of 1940, the National Youth Act Music Project was established in St. Louis by the Federal Government. In September of that year, Kenneth Brown Billups, supervisor of the project, selected 18 voices from that group and chose the name "The Legend Singers." This name was chosen because the purpose of the group was to preserve the indigenous music of the American Black. Dr. Billups conducted the group until his untimely death in 1985. Malachi Owens, a student of Billups, continued as conductor until 1996. The baton was then passed to Doris Jones Wilson, also a student of Billups.
Doris Jones Wilson, music director of the Legend Singers is a graduate of Sumner High School. It was there that she studied with and was mentored by Kenneth Billups. She holds degrees from Lincoln University and Washington University and is professor emeritus at Harris Stowe State University where she directed the Concert Chorale for 29 years. Dr. Wilson is a composer and arranger and has been professionally honored many times for her work in the field of music education and church music. Her choirs have traveled and performed throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
The Legend Singers have an educational and community outreach program which takes them to the schools, churches, and community agencies in the St. Louis region. The Singers have performed with the St. Louis Symphony, as well as symphony orchestras of University City, Indianapolis, Washington University and Brentwood. The ensemble has also collaborated with the Jazz Edge Band, the Compton Heights Band and with the St. Louis Municipal Opera.
Some of the major productions the Legend Singers have appeared in include: Showboat, Porgy and Bess, Treemonisha, Lost in the Stars, 200 Years of Black Music, St. Louis Woman and God Gave Us a Song. The Singers were featured in the PBS special, "Sing it: Celebrating the Works of Kenneth Billups." They also were featured many times in "God's Musical World", a TV show produced by Dr. Billups.
Admission is free--only a love offering will be taken.